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HTTP basic and Digest Authentication (Internal)

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Created On: 25 Feb 2004 10:01 am
Last Edited: 1 Jun 2005 9:30 am

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What is it, how does it work and how to I activate it?

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Problems logging in using...

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Login repeats indefinitely.

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Troubleshooting HTTP basic and Digest Authentication

Answer

Note: this is only a feature present in Version 5.0+

Digest authentication is defined as a feature of the HTTP/1.1 protocol. Only those browsers which support it will respond with MD5 digest user credentials. HTTP/1.0 browsers should fall back and respond with Base64 ("Basic") encoded user credentials.

Note: the client (the browser) must have HTTP/1.1 enabled in the user settings for Digest mode to work!! And if the user is passing through a proxy that is only capable of HTTP/1.0 then MD5 digest user credentials will not be used, and if available, the authentication will fall back to "Basic".

IMPORTANT: Browsers cache the user credentials! This is a browser limitation and not a problem with Web Crossing. Logging out of a site using Basic or Digest authentication is nearly impossible, and may require you quit the browser entirely. Hence, this method of authentication may not be suitable for use when a browser is in a public situation (like an internet cafe, library, etc). Similarly, you may need to close the browser in order simply login as another user. In some cases, particularly with Digest Authentication, you may be able to login as another user, but you will need to submit your login and password two times.

To activate HTTP authentication, check off one or both of the appropriate checkboxes in the "Registered users, login, and session management." Control Panel. Most typically you will want to turn both on, so that if the Digest Mode fails at the client browser level, it can fall back to Basic Authentication as described above.

If you are turning on HTTP Authentication when you previously had only standard Web Crossing authentication in operation, your browser may become confused due to the midstream switch and you will find that you cannot login at all. Simply close your browser entirely and then come back to the site and login.

In some cases, your browser may refuse to operate in one or both of the HTTP Authentication modes, and repeatedly demand that you login. This seems to be more prevelant with Internet Explorer. Check and make sure you have entered a "server name" into the Web Service Control panel, and then toggle the various "Enable HTTP..." options to determine which may be giving you a problem. To do so is easiest done with another browser like Netscape or Firefox. If you find yourself entirely locked out, then HTTP Authentication is not for you. To get yourself back in, shutdown Web Crossing, then hand edit the webx.set file in your root webx directory.

Change the following to read as below, then save the file and restart webx:

httpBasicAuth=0
httpDigestAuth=0